See what I did there?
Turns out, the “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” thing? It’s true.
If one person has a negative attitude, it really can ruin it for everyone. And while you’re first instinct may be to move to the middle of nowhere and become a dairy farmer (this scenario came to me in a dream – I kid you not), that’s probably not realistic (and also? for me that would be way worse).
So what to do?
First, make sure the bad apple is not you. Cultivating greater self-awareness is a worthy practice for all of us. If you’re constantly bemoaning other people and feeling victimized….sorry to say, but you could be the bad apple. If that’s the case, you need to figure out the root of your negativity and identify a new path forward. This is easier said than done, but I believe worth it. I recently read an interview with Kristen Bell, and she summed it up pretty well:
I have gotten to a happy place the last five years or so where I have so much sympathy toward people who are unhappy or jerky. Like, ‘Oh, man, we have one ride here — that’s how you are going to spend it? What a bummer.’
It’s a good attitude to take toward bad apples, including yourself. Is this really how to you want to live your life?
Now, if you are not the bad apple in a given scenario, what do you do? I hate to break it to you, but you need to change your attitude in this case, too.
That’s right – whether you are the bad apple or you are dealing with a bad apple, ultimately it’s YOUR attitude that determines how things play out.
Why? You can’t change other people. You also can’t make everyone happy. The best you can do is make a sincere and sustained effort to find out what’s driving another person’s negativity, and see if you can address. If you can, do. But sometimes? No matter what you do, this person will be unhappy. So, make a good faith effort to engage them and then move. on.
Focus instead on the people who are appreciative, happy and supportive. This is critical to ensure you don’t allow the bad apple to drain your energy.
So much of life is how you approach it, right? That’s no different when you’re faced with a person who just continues to be negative. It’s on you. But you can totally handle it! 🙂